Modafinil Dosage Guide | Uses, Indications, and Microdosing

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Modafinil Dosage

Struggling to find the perfect Modafinil dosage that provides all the upsides of cognitive enhancement without any downsides?

You’re not alone. Many smart drug users are seemingly unable to find the optimal dosage of Modafinil they can consistently and safely use for long periods of time.

Which leaves several questions answered…

Should someone start Modafinil dosing to the highest levels until they start feeling uncomfortable? Would they instead be better off with Modafinil microdosing and gradually working their way up to higher dosages?

Or is there a Modafini dosage that hits the sweet spot for any nootropic user?

This article will set the record straight on how to find the right Modafinil dose for your productivity needs.

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This is not legal or medical advice. This article was strictly created for your entertainment. Please consult with your primary care physician or a medical professional with close working knowledge of your health -- before consuming pharmaceutical drugs or nootropics, like Modafinil. Please read my disclaimer.

What is Modafinil?

 

Before we can discuss the ideal dosage of Modafinil, let’s briefly cover what Modafinil is and why so many people are experimenting with the smart drug.

Modafinil (brand name: Provigil) is an FDA-approved wakefulness drug that is used to treat narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea. It does not directly treat the conditions themselves, but rather the excessive daytime sleepiness commonly associated with all three conditions.

The precise mechanism of action is not fully understood, but Modafinil is believed to increase the production of several neurotransmitters such as serotonin, histamine, norepinephrine, glutamate, and dopamine [1].

Eventually, Modafinil found its way towards being used off-label as a cognitive enhancer in the early 2000s.

Healthy individuals who did not suffer from sleep deprivation discovered that Modafinil gave them a significant boost in mental performance [2]:

“Pharmaceutical intervention in the sleep–wake cycle was represented as a way to reduce time spent sleeping, a method of potentially ‘eliminating sleep’ altogether and a tool to enhance one’s cognitive abilities.

Modafinil was tipped as the next ‘wonder drug’ to hit the UK with claims made that it could become the ‘pharmaceutical equivalent of the electric light bulb’ by ‘extending the waking day’”

All in all, Modafinil is used by people in brutally competitive industries to stay competitive amongst their peers.

Generic Modafinil

Modafinil Side Effects and Safety Concerns

 

But are there any side effects associated with taking a normal Modafinil dosage? For a smart drug to be effective, the benefits need to outweigh the downsides significantly.

Fortunately, Modafinil has one of the best safety profiles of any pharmaceutical drug. The common side effects of Modafinil include [3]:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth/eyes

The good news is that these side effects rarely occur, and when they do, they are mild in nature. Furthermore, the fixes are usually straightforward and tend to work immediately (ex. for dehydration, one simply has to drink more water than usual).

Modafinil is the preferred “drug of choice” over common alternatives as it possesses fewer side effects [4]:

“Modafinil is less related to side effects such as excess locomotor activities, anxiety, jitteriness, or rebound effects than the traditional stimulants…[Modafinil] is also more effective than amphetamine”

Of course, all of this assumes you are dosing Modafinil properly and not intentionally abusing the drug by using it too much (and too frequently).

Modafinil Dosage Guide | The Basics

Everyone will ultimately go through their own individual “Modafinil dosing” journey, but the end goal remains the same:

Find the perfect Modafinil dosage that allows one to achieve the highest level of cognitive enhancement for the desired period of time while minimizing the possibility of experiencing unwanted side effects.

But this brings up two main questions:

  1. What Modafinil dosage should I start at?
  2. What criteria should I use to determine if I increase or decrease my dosage of Modafinil?

For the first question, we strongly recommend starting at 10o mg of Modafinil. Take it early in the morning, no later than 9am, so you can prevent Modafinil from interfering with your normal sleep schedule.

(NOTE: Avoid taking any other drugs other than Modafinil, or making significant changes to your usual routine. Otherwise, you may end up compromising the results [5]).

Do this 2-3 times throughout the week, with each dose at least 48 hours apart from each other. Gauge how you feel while on Modafinil and whether you are experiencing any side effects.

If you feel you aren’t overstimulated and do not notice any side effects, bump the dose up by 25 mg for the next week. Rinse and repeat the evaluation process, re-evaluating how you feel.

However, if you are experiencing side effects and/or feel overstimulated, lower the dose by 25 mg for the next week. Again, take stock of how your lowered Modafinil dosage affects your well-being and your cognition.

The Neuroscience Education Institute provides some good rules of thumb for deciding what your dosage of Modafinil should be [6]:

For sleepiness, more may be more : higher doses (200–800 mg/day) may be better than lower doses (50–200 mg/day) in patients with daytime sleepiness in sleep disorders

For problems concentrating and fatigue, less may be more : lower doses (50–200 mg/ day) may be paradoxically better than higher doses (200–800 mg/day) in some patients

This trial-and-error process is necessary to find the Modafinil dosage that’s right for you.

Standard Prescription Modafinil Dose?

The Modafinil dosage you ultimately end up picking will not necessarily be the same as the standard prescription dose recommended by doctors.

According to the official FDA product monograph, Modafinil is prescribed at 200 mg per day for all of its approved indications, either in the morning or one hour before starting their work shift [7]. Here’s why:

Doses up to 400 mg/day, given as a single dose, have been well tolerated, but there is no consistent evidence that this dose confers additional benefit beyond that of the 200 mg dose.”

Modafinil comes in either 100 mg or 200 mg tablets, as some patients find a lower dosage of Modafinil is as much as they can handle without feeling overwhelmed.

Overall, most of the literature and studies have shown 200 mg to be the ideal Modafinil dosage for most users – especially individuals using the pharmaceutical drug as a nootropic.

However, keep in mind that 400 mg of Modafinil is considered a maximal dosage for physicians. For some individuals, taking such high quantities of Modafinil may lead to experiencing a greater severity of side effects like nervousness and nausea [8].

Dosing Guidelines | 50-400mg

If you’re new to Modafinil or looking to tweak your dosage, here are a few things our test subjects have noted when trying different dosing protocols:

Modafinil Dosage of 50 mg

For most of our test subjects, the increase in cognitive enhancement was mild and only lasted 2-3 hours.

They consistently said it would be possible to take 50 mg of Modafinil for 4-6 days a week, versus the 2-3 days per week they would have to abide by if taking 100-200 mg of Modafinil at a time.

However, no side effects were reported at this dosage of Modafinil.

We would only recommend starting at this point if you have a history of being overly sensitive to stimulants.

One Reddit user’s testimonial best describes individuals who do very well on a smaller dosage of Modafinil [9]:

“50mg works the best for me too, by far. With 100-200mg, I’d feel overstimulated for a couple of hours, get a headache, then crash and feel like crap for the rest of the day.

50mg followed by a coffee or two, then lots of water, is absolutely perfect to keep me going for the day, then still sleep well at the usual time.”

Modafinil Dosage of 100 mg

If you’re looking for increased focus during a typical “9-5” workday, then a 100 mg Modafinil dosage could be ideal as your starting point.

This recommendation is in line with previously published studies, where 100 mg of Modafinil was sufficient for most patients to notice significant differences in cognitive functioning [10].

Due to Modafinil’s half-life of 12-15 hours [11], our test subjects noticed the boost in cognitive enhancement started to wear off around 7-8 hours after taking 100 mg.

A few individuals preferred splitting up their daily Modafinil dosage of 100 mg into two separate doses — 50 mg at 7-8am, and the remaining 50 mg at 12-1pm.

If you take this dosage of Modafinil and don’t notice improved focus, increasing the dose is advised.

Modafinil Dosage of 200 mg

This is the standard dose taken by most smart drug users who are seriously using Modafinil to become more energetic and focused for the majority of the working day.

As mentioned before, it is also the most “well-researched” dosage of Modafinil and it is officially recommended in Modafinil’s product monograph [12]:

“The recommended starting daily dose is 200 mg. The total daily dose may be taken as a single dose in the morning or as two doses, one in the morning and one at noon, according to physician assessment of the patient and the patient’s response.”

At 200 mg of Modafinil, most users feel all the desired cognitive effects with little to no side effects.

We recommend most Modafinil users stick with this dose at 1-3 days per week. There’s very little evidence to suggest more than 200 mg of Modafinil adds additional benefits, or that splitting your Modafinil dosage into two 100mg doses makes any real difference.

Modafinil Dosage of 300 mg

Unless you absolutely need an additional 1-2 hours of focus, or plan on staying up for more than 24 hours, 300 mg of Modafinil is not recommended.

Even if taken early in the morning, our test subjects reported extreme difficulty with falling asleep before 3-4am, and woke up feeling “slightly hungover” the next morning.

This Modafinil dosage has not been extensively studied in the literature, but some of the studies make several suggestions that are in line with our own observations.

In one study comparing different levels of Modafinil dosing to 100 mg of caffeine, using 300 mg of Modafinil to power through sleep deprivation lowered performance the very next day [13]:

“Enhanced performance with modafinil during overnight work varied with dose (200 mg>100 mg; 300, 400 mg>200, 100 mg, caffeine).

However, in the study of next-day performance, the enhancement was attenuated at the highest dose (300 mg) by the greater disturbance of prior sleep.”

However, in another study dosing Modafinil in French military soldiers deprived of sleep for 64 hours, 300 mg of Modafinil was the only dose that allowed them to maintain the same level of cognitive performance relative to baseline levels [14].

If you decide to use this dosage of Modafinil, we highly recommend splitting your daily dose into two smaller doses: 150 mg in the early morning, and 150 mg right after eating lunch.

Modafinil Dosage of 400 mg

For the purpose of cognitive enhancement, this Modafinil dosage is not advisable for the majority of smart drug users.

Even physicians are recommended not to go any higher than 400 mg of Modafinil a day for patients suffering from shift work sleep disorder, narcolepsy, or sleep apnea [15].

We have only found a few instances where 400 mg of Modafinil may be required for enhancing cognition:

  • An unusual metabolism whereby Modafinil is eliminated at a faster rate
  • Individuals who have developed a heavy tolerance to Modafinil (to which we would advise an extended break from Modafinil to ‘reset’ the body)
  • Smart drug users who are larger in size (>200 lbs, and >6 feet tall)

Most of our users started experiencing a higher frequency and severity of side effects at this high dose of Modafinil — brain fog, chronic fatigue, difficulty concentrating, lower energy levels, and so on.

Moreover, the positive aspects of Modafinil tend to quickly wear out, possibly leading to overconfidence in your own mental capabilities [16]:

“A single dose of modafinil seems to have a cognitive enhancing effect in cases of moderate sleep deprivation. In repeated doses it does not seem to boost cognitive performance over a longer period of sleep deprivation, but only maintains wakefulness.”

In summation, 400 mg of Modafinil should be avoided unless you have a clinical need for it.

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Microdosing Modafinil

“Modafinil microdosing” can be defined as taking 1/5th to 1/10th of the standard Modafinil dosage. In practice, 50 mg of Modafinil or less would be considered a microdose of Modafinil.

Many people who feel that a Modafinil dosage of 100 mg is “too much” may find much smaller doses to be more tolerable. They can still experience the positive aspects of Modafinil without experiencing any side effects whatsoever.

In a Reddit forum discussing the benefits of microdosing Modafinil, one user chimed in with their success in taking 12.5 mg of Modafinil per day [17]:

“With the microdoses, there are also no lingering after effects, and consecutive day uses tend to be more effective.

Bottom line, my personal experience is this stuff has almost saved me by allowing me to work continuously and productively with focus, for an extended calendar length of time”

Microdosing Modafinil may also be useful if you suffer from liver issues or happen to be 65 years or older [18].

If you are looking to start with extremely small doses of Modafinil and work your way up towards a larger microdose, this proposed schedule from one smart drug user helped them find 70 mg of Modafinil per day to be their ideal dose [19]:

  • Days 1-3: Take 25 mg of Modafinil at the same time each day
  • Days 4-6: Three-day break
  • Days 7-9: Take 50 mg of Modafinil at the same time each day
  • Days 10-12: Three-day break

You would repeat the “three day on, three day off” cycle with progressively larger doses until you find your best Modafinil dosage.

Lethal Dosage?

 

If you take a look at the official medication guide for Modafinil, you will find the following blurb under the “Overdosage” section [20]:

“In clinical trials, a total of 151 protocol-specified doses ranging from 1000 to 1600 mg/day (5 to 8 times the recommended daily dose of 200 mg) have been administered to 32 subjects, including 13 subjects who received doses of 1000 or 1200 mg/day for 7 to 21 consecutive days.

In addition, several intentional acute overdoses occurred; the two largest being 4500 mg and 4000 mg taken by two subjects participating in foreign depression studies. None of these study subjects experienced any unexpected or life-threatening effects”

The side effects associated with overdosing on Modafinil usually include chest pain, higher blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, hallucination, excessive agitation, and overall restlessness.

To put all this on context: The “LD50” of Modafinil – the dose of a drug required to kill 50% of all test subjects – in rodents taking it orally is 1.0-1.25 g/kg [21]. For a 70 kg male, they would need to take 75 grams of Modafinil for the smart drug to be considered deadly!

Given that nobody in human history has ever exceeded 12 grams of Modafinil in a single day, you could say there’s effectively no lethal dosage of Modafinil.

Modafinil Dosing | The Verdict

You now know everything required to find the perfect Modafinil dosage for your nootropic needs.

Our recommendations are straightforward and simple, but here’s a very quick recap of what we discussed in this article:

If you don’t have substance abuse issues and are new to smart drugs, stick to a 100 mg dosage of Modafinil and gradually work your way up to 200 mg. You’ll find increase cognition, focus, and productivity – without many of the negative side effects.

If you are overly sensitive to stimulants and want to take Modafinil more frequently during the week, stick with a daily microdose of 50 mg or less.

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References

  1. Kredlow MA, Keshishian A, Oppenheimer S, Otto MW. The Efficacy of Modafinil as a Cognitive Enhancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2019;39(5):455-461. doi:10.1097/JCP.0000000000001085
  2. Coveney CM, Nerlich B, Martin P. Modafinil in the media: metaphors, medicalisation and the body. Soc Sci Med. 2009;68(3):487-495. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.11.016
  3. PROVIGIL. Retrieved June 7, 2020. rxlist.com
  4. Kim D. Practical use and risk of modafinil, a novel waking drug. Environ Health Toxicol. 2012;27:e2012007. doi:10.5620/eht.2012.27.e2012007
  5. Supercharge Your Brain : Principles of Safe Nootropic Use. Retrieved June 5, 2020. psychologytoday.com
  6. MODAFINIL. Retrieved June 6, 2020. cdn.neiglobal.com
  7. PROVIGIL® (modafinil) Tablets [C-IV]. Retrieved June 5, 2020. accessdata.fda.gov
  8. Broughton RJ, Fleming JA, George CF, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial of modafinil in the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness in narcolepsy. Neurology. 1997;49(2):444-451. doi:10.1212/wnl.49.2.444
  9. Just a reminder for you to give 50mg modafinil a try. Retrieved June 7, 2020. r/afinil
  10. Wittkampf LC, Arends J, Timmerman L, Lancel M. A review of modafinil and armodafinil as add-on therapy in antipsychotic-treated patients with schizophrenia. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2012;2(3):115-125. doi:10.1177/2045125312441815
  11. Taneja I, Diedrich A, Black BK, Byrne DW, Paranjape SY, et al. Modafinil elicits sympathomedullary activation. Hypertension. 2005;45(4):612-618. doi:10.1161/01.HYP.0000158267.66763.63
  12. Modafinil Provigil 100 mg Tablets. Retrieved June 4, 2020. medicines.org.uk

     
  13. Turner C, Belyavin AJ, Nicholson AN. Duration of activity and mode of action of modafinil: Studies on sleep and wakefulness in humans. J Psychopharmacol. 2014;28(7):643-654. doi:10.1177/0269881113508173
  14. , , , , . Effects of Modafinil on Cognitive Performance During 40 Hr of Sleep Deprivation in a Warm Environment. Mil Psychol. 2002;14(1):23-47. doi:10.1207/s15327876mp1003_3
  15. modafinil – Drug Summary. Retrieved June 6, 2020. pdr.net
  16. Repantis D, Schlattmann P, Laisney O, Heuser I. Modafinil and methylphenidate for neuroenhancement in healthy individuals: A systematic review. Pharmacol Res. 2010;62(3):187-206. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2010.04.002
  17. Microdosing. Retrieved June 8, 2020. r/modafinil
  18. Provigil (modafinil). Retrieved June 3, 2020. medicalnewstoday.com
  19. Modafinil Dosage – Complete Guide 2017. Retrieved June 5, 2020. slideshare.net
  20. Medication Guide – Modafinil Tablets. Retrieved June 2, 2020. parpharm.com
  21. Ramachandra B. A Critical Review of Properties of Modafinil and Analytical, Bioanalytical Methods for its Determination. Crit Rev Anal Chem. 2016;46(6):482-489. doi:10.1080/10408347.2016.1153948

Table of Contents

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